Vervet Monkey

Vervet monkey.


Name

Vervet Monkey [Chlorocebus pygerythrus]

Appearance

Males have a mass of 6kg and measure 1.1 m in length, whereas females are slightly smaller and weigh only 4kg. Vervet Monkeys have a silver-grey body with a marked black face. The ridge of the eyebrows is white, and so are the feet and tail tip. The genitals of adult males are vividly coloured to signal sexual status, namely a red penis and a blue scrotum.

Diet

The diet tends to be omnivorous, feeding on fruit, flowers, leaves and insects, which constitutes the bulk of their diet. Primates are amongst the few mammals with colour vision, which allows Vervet Monkeys to distinguish between green and ripe fruit.

Breeding

This is a seasonal breeder and single young are born between March and May after a gestation period of 140 days. Inter birth intervals could be longer than a single season, and is correlated with food abundance.

Social Behaviour

Vervets are highly social animals, and occur in well organised troops, dominated by males. Females do not leave their natal group, but males emigrate from the troop at puberty. Access to prime food recourses is determined by the dominance hierarchy.

Habitat

A sufficient density of tall trees and the availability of permanent surface water, allow this primate to occur in a wide variety of macro environments. They are regarded primarily as a forest edge specialist.

Where they are found

Unlike many tropical African countries, there are only two monkey species in South Africa, namely the Vervet and the Samango monkey. Both are fruit eating tree dwellers, as a consequence of which they can inflict serious damage to commercial fruit orchards. The vervet monkey is common throughout South Africa, and occurs wherever essential habitat requirements are met. The out of control expansion of wattle trees made it possible for the vervet monkey to extend its historical range.



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